In the current context of market changes, especially with the turbulence in supply chains and the trend towards relocation, many companies must modify and adjust their products to be able to cope with a shortage of parts, to meet new demands or to be able to adapt to new situations. In order for engineering changes to take place smoothly and efficiently, it is essential to have a good strategy, adapted tools, and rigor. In this article, we propose a top 5 of best practices to manage engineering change requests (ECR).
Why is it difficult to manage engineering changes?
Before implementing a new engineering change, it is important to measure its various impacts in all areas of the company. In order to do so, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the history, the product and the processes in place in the different departments.
Teams are currently overloaded and many people are involved in the engineering change process, although most of the time it is beyond their scope of responsibility. This additional work can be a burden on the smooth running of daily operations and make the management of ECRs difficult. It is therefore important to anticipate all the efforts required in the process in order to get everyone involved.
Top 5 best practices to manage your engineering changes
- Involve all the company’s stakeholders from the beginning of the process in order to create good communication and collaboration between the different departments.
- Establish a simple, well-structured process for overall cohesion.
- Develop an analysis grid to better assess the impacts of engineering changes and facilitate approval and prioritization of requests.
- Clearly communicate the rationale for or against the change throughout its implementation.
- Raise awareness and stimulate dialogue with teams about impacts.
Two must-haves during engineering change management
- Have a dedicated resource or team to coordinate the engineering changes and properly assess all the tasks to be performed.
- Set up a collaborative platform to maintain a good level of communication between all stakeholders during the implementation phase of the change and to keep track of the tasks performed throughout the process.
Engineering changes are a key element for the deployment of an idea, an improvement, a cost reduction, or the resolution of a procurement or other problem. It is therefore recommended to ensure the deployment of efficient tools and processes in order to include the resulting improvements easily and to keep a history in order to optimize all the actions undertaken.
MERKUR and its multidisciplinary teams have the expertise to help you improve your tools and face the turbulences created by the changes. For more information, we invite you to contact our team who will be pleased to accompany you during your next engineering change.
MERKUR is a firm of experts in manufacturing performance and innovation and has been doing so for over 25 years. From strategy to execution, its sole objective is to make Quebec’s manufacturing companies more efficient by offering innovative solutions in product development, operational excellence, manufacturing engineering, automation and smart factory. Merkur is proud to contribute to innovation and productivity in Quebec!
KHROME PRODUIT TRANSPORT is a manufacturing integrator located in Drummondville specialized in the design and manufacturing of train car interiors and exteriors. Its strength comes from its great engineering capacity and its manufacturing agility. Among its customer portfolio, there are major manufacturers such as Alstom, Bombardier Transportation and Kawasaki Rail Car.
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